Parliamentary Assembly

RESOLUTION 743 (1980)[1]

on the need to combat resurgent fascist propaganda and its racist aspects

The Assembly,

1. Reaffirming its devotion to the principles of democracy and respect of human rights, on which the Council of Europe is founded ;

2. Deeply concerned at the emergence in several member states of vicious propaganda attempting to rehabilitate fascist theories and their racist aspects ;

3. Recalling its Recommendation 453 (1966), which gave rise to Resolution (68) 30 of the Committee of Ministers, on measures to be taken against incitement to racial, national and religious hatred,

4. Condemns the latest attacks, which are all the more repugnant in that they have been perpetrated against innocent crowds, Jewish children, immigrant workers and refugees ;

5. Condemns with the utmost vigour such propaganda which, stridently exploited by extremist groups, finds, in a climate of economic and social uncertainty, an audience among certain sectors of the population, and is even seeking, more subtly, to find a place in the ideologies of certain widely supported political parties ;

6. Recalling its request to the Committee of Ministers in Recommendation 453 (1966) "to invite member governments to initiate effective legislation against incitement to racial, national and religious hatred and violence and, in member states where such legislation already exists, to invite member governments to review the scope and effectiveness of such legislation in the light of present-day circumstances, and further, to request member governments to take all steps in their power to ensure that such legislation as exists at present is rigorously enforced",

7. Draws the attention of journalists and those responsible for the mass media to their responsibilities in connection with the public propagation of information likely to encourage the development of reactions of a racist and elitist nature ;

8. Welcomes :

a. the initiative taken by the Council of Europe's European Youth Centre in organising a Conference on Intolerance in Europe, in Strasbourg from 9 to 11 December 1980 ;

b. the importance accorded by the Council for Cultural Co-operation to the preparation of school children for life in a democratic society by the project on secondary education entitled "Preparation for life" ;

9. Urges the governments and parliaments of member states :

a. to take appropriate action to attack the root causes of the ills from which such propaganda springs by ensuring access for all to justice, to the right to work, and to culture and education, which should in particular include adequate teaching of modern history, so that young people will be better prepared to promote democracy ;

b. to adopt, where it does not already exist, legislation directed against actions inspired by racism and xenophobia, in accordance with Article 2, paragraph 1.d, of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, which entered into force on 4 January 1969, and with Committee of Ministers Resolution (68) 30 of 31 October 1968 on the prohibition of racial, national and religious discrimination ;

10. Calls on the Committee of Ministers to approach the member governments with a view to their taking more positive and appropriate action against subversive fascist and Nazi groups and safeguarding free and democratic institutions against acts of violence which have now assumed the proportions of frequently recurring massacres,

11. Calls on the Committee of Ministers to take action on Assembly Recommendation 855 of 2 February 1979 by approaching the member governments with a view to their signing and ratifying the European Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitation to Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes of 1974 (paragraph 10.i of the recommendation), to taking whatever steps may be necessary to ensure that crimes do not escape punishment (paragraph 10.ii), and to improving their co-operation for the purpose of prosecuting the perpetrators of these serious crimes (paragraph 10.iii).

[1]. Assembly debate on 1 October 1980 (18th Sitting) (see Doc: 4590, report of the Political Affairs Committee).

Text adopted by the Assembly on 1 October 1980 (18th Sitting).